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Hell in Paradise

| by Tisaranee Gunasekara

““It was in the basement of the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department… we sat and listened as a group of senior police officers took us through the case. My stomach churned as we learned of the sickening and horrific details of the completely unprovoked attack that Khuram and his partner had been subjected to”- British Parliamentarian Simon Danczuk 1, 2

“They started beating me. I fell to the ground….. They killed Khuram and sexually assaulted me…”3

( July 14, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) That was Victoria Tkacheva, the 24 year old Russian tourist, who, with her companion Khuram Shaikh, came to Sri Lanka to enjoy a holiday in Paradise and found, instead, Hell.

According to witnesses, Ms. Tkacheva was discovered in a room, naked and unconscious. The police subsequently confirmed that she was either raped or sexually assaulted: “She had been raped or sexually assaulted and had suffered vaginal injuries, according to a Sri Lankan police report”4.

Ms. Tkacheva waived her right to anonymity as a rape-victim because she wanted justice.

Sadly, justice, in Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, is the ultimate oxymoron.

According to a statement made in parliament by the Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Victoria Tkacheva was neither raped nor sexually abused. As if trying to exculpate himself from his putrid words, Minister Gunawardena added, “I am presenting the answer given to me by the Ministry of Defence, based on police records submitted to them”5.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Minister of Defence. His younger brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. The repulsive statement read out by Minster Gunawardane came from their ministry.

According to Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, either Ms. Tkacheva is lying or hallucinating; or beating a woman into unconsciousness and having sex is not rape.

In Rajapaksa Sri Lanka a brutal war became a ‘Humanitarian Operation’ and gigantic internment camps ‘Welfare Villages’. So why cannot rape become ‘consensual sex’?

Commenting on this latest outrage, British Parliamentarian Simon Danczuk said, “When I visited in March the head of police conducting the investigation showed us all the medical reports that clearly showed that she had been raped”6.

Why did the police go back on their own findings?

The main accused, Sampath Chandrapushpa, is the man handpicked by the Ruling Family to head the Tangalle Pradesheeya Sabha. Tangalle is the Rajapaksa pocket-borough; the President’s private residence, Carlton House, is located there. The fact that Samptha Chandrapushpa was chosen to head the Tangalle PS proves that he is a very, very favoured acolyte of the Rajapaksas. Rather like Duminda Silva, who was appointed by the Rajapaksas as the Monitoring Parliamentarian for the Defence Ministry, even though he had been charged with raping a minor!

Sampath Chandrapushpa is a ‘Chosen One’ of the Rajapaksas. Therefore he must be saved, the same way the other ‘Chosen Ones’ (Duminda Silva, Mervyn Silva, et al) were saved. Because in Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, the only real and unforgivable crime is opposing the Rajapaksas; everything else, including murder, rape and child abuse, is a mere bagatelle. A Lankan who does not commit the ultimate crime of anti-Rajapaksaism can get away all the lesser crimes.

If the Defence Ministry can save Sampath Chandrapushpa by proclaiming that Khuram Shaikh died a natural death, it would do so. Had Mr. Shaikh been a Lankan or even a citizen of a non-democracy friendly towards the Rajapaksas, the Siblings may have given that angle a try. That is a non-option, because Mr. Shaikh was British; even if David Cameron is willing to acquiesce in such an abomination, British media/public will not let him. But such skulduggery was possible with the rape/sexual assault charge, because the victim is a Russian and protecting the rights of Russians has never been a priority for President Putin.

If the police report about the assault on Ms. Tkacheva was turned on its head, the DNA evidence about Mr. Shaikh’s murder too can be tampered with.

Recently Sampath Chandrapushpa said that the case filed against him by the CID was the “result of an international conspiracy against the Sri Lankan Govt”7. This indubitably would be the line his Rajapaksa-masters would take, when he walks free, triumphantly, cleared of all charges, post-Hambantota Commonwealth.

A Suicidal Nation

If the horror experienced by a tourist can be denied in such a cavalier fashion, what cannot happen to a Lankan woman or child who is raped/sexually assaulted by a Rajapaksa crony?

The denial of the rape/sexual assault charge sends a clear and cogent message: a Rajapaksa acolyte can commit even the most horrific of crimes, publicly, and get away with it.

In such a climate, where impunity has been taken to an obscene extreme, no non-Rajapaksa Lankan can be safe, from marauding Rajapaksa-men.

Even non-Rajapaksa SLFPers and their families will be unsafe in this clime of criminal and perverse permissiveness. After all, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was a close supporter and friend of Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his nonentity-years. Those years of loyalty availed Mr. Premachandra nothing. He was murdered; his alleged murderer did not serve a day in jail.

Sri Lankans, if they have any concern about the safety of themselves and their loved ones, must consider the enormity of this latest Rajapaksa outrage. The denial of rape/sexual assault charge proves that there is no obscenity, no abomination that is beyond the Rajapaksas. They will go to any amoral extreme, any execrable length to save themselves and their acolytes.

Rajapaksa corruption goes beyond economics and politics; it is moral corruption as well. The Siblings are not only corrupting the judiciary, the bureaucracy and the monks, but society as well. When a rape/sexual assault charge is negated in such a blasé manner, it cannot but encourage abusive and predatory conduct across society.

The Siblings preach morality and values and do the opposite. They ban ‘unsuitable’ movies while ignoring real-crimes and encouraging social-vices. Child abuse and rape have risen to epidemic levels. Extortionate taxes are imposed on essential goods (including medicines and baby formula) while mega-casinos get mammoth tax-breaks.

When Vellupillai Pirapaharan’s mother died, three bitches were killed and their bodies dumped at her cremation site.

This is Rajapaksa civilisation - a puritanically pious shell hiding innards of ruthless depravity and criminal prurience.

Colm O’Gorman, a pioneer in the expose-cum-battle against clerical-child abuse in Catholic Ireland, warned, “We make ourselves powerless when we pretend we don’t know”8. If the Rajapaksas are allowed to get away with arbitrarily and anti-factually dropping the rape/sexual abuse charge, we will be rendering ourselves and our loved ones vulnerable to similar atrocities.

We can profess unconcern about the second raping of Victoria Tkacheva. We can opine that the Rajapaksas are blameless because they defeated the LTTE. We can believe that all calumny stems from Gotabhaya and other Rajapaksas are good men. But we can indulge in such self-delusion, only at our own peril. Even if we do not become direct targets, we will find ourselves living in a society plagued by moral corruption. In this society not only will war be peace, slavery freedom and ignorance strength; here murder will be natural death, rape consensual-sex and child abuse child care.

The Tamils already know this horrendous reality. It is now our turn.

1 http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/03/rochdale-red-cross-worker-who-continues-haunt-sri-lanka
2 http://www.srilankamirror.com/news/6105-murdered-british-tourist-haunts-sri-lanka
3 Ceylon Today – 21.4..2013
4 Ibid
5 http://www.ceylontoday.lk/16-37444-news-detail-khuram-shaikhs-partner-was-not-raped.html
6 http://www.ceylontoday.lk/27-37522-news-detail-khurams-girlfriend-was-indeed-raped.html
7 http://www.srilankamirror.lk/news/8546-cid-in-a-conspiracy-against-sl-govt
8 http://www.newstatesman.com/ideas/2011/08/wilful-blindness-essay-news